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Food for thought for Mayo GAA delegates

Sport

A SHOW OF HANDS Club delegates are pictured voting to support a motion during last Sunday’s annual Mayo GAA Convention in Kiltimagh. Pic: Michael McLaughlin

Sketch
Mike Finnerty

MONEY might make the world go around, but it can also slow down the pace of the annual Mayo GAA Convention. Or at least talking about it can!
The whole show last Sunday at the Park Hotel in Kiltimagh went on for just over three hours as reports were read, questions were asked, some were answered, and there was more kicking for touch than you’d get at the old Lansdowne Road.
All in all, this was a marathon meeting, an endurance test for club delegates.
By our calculations, around 60 minutes alone were spent discussing the financial report from County Board Treasurer, Kevin O’Toole.
“It was a testing year for us,” admitted O’Toole, who has also served as Mayo GAA secretary and PRO in the past, so it’s safe to say he knows his way around both the top table and tight corners at Convention.
“But we didn’t get into trouble because we managed it well” he added by way of a hint of self-praise.
In fairness, there weren’t too many compliments coming his way from delegates on the floor so it was hard to blame the Tourmakeady businessman for patting himself on the back when the chance arose.
Although we did notice Mike Connelly throwing a few bouquets in the treasurer’s direction at one stage, saying O’Toole had ‘a flair for fundraising, a head for figures, and an appetite for an argument to reduce costs.’
High praise, indeed.
O’Toole also treated us to a few one-liners in between answering a plethora of queries from all corners of the floor. “Any county that reaches an All-Ireland Final and doesn’t make money should be shot!” was one that got everyone’s attention.
By the time the ‘Kiltimagh Inquisition’ had ended, O’Toole looked like he needed a stiff drink at the hotel bar, but he would have to make do with dinner from the carvery. The bad news was that was over an hour away.
There were still the 22 motions to get through when the treasurer handed the microphone back to the chairman.
If we had to come up with a word to describe last Sunday’s Convention it would be ‘subdued’. Lighter moments and memorable interventions were few and far between.
We did spot a bit of scrambling in the front row of the top tables though when a phone belonging to one member of the executive went off.
The fact that his ring tone was ‘The Green and Red of Mayo’ and that Mike Connelly was midway through his address made it look like a pre-planned move.
All that was missing was Mike dancing across the stage like Theresa May!
To be fair, most of the top brass of Mayo GAA got all dressed up for the occasion. The likes of Liam Moffatt, Dermot Butler, John Farragher, Ger McHugh, Seamus Tuohy and Mike Connelly were all ‘suited and booted’ while others went for the ‘smart-casual Sunday’ look.
The fact that we were looking up at the esteemed members of the Executive for more than three hours meant that we got plenty of time to examine them!
The motions, for the most part, were tough ploughing.
Aghamore got the ball rolling with their suggestion that the Under-21 club championship start in either February or March, and Frank Flynn spoke well on the subject.
“I’d like to support the motion,” commented South Mayo Board chairman, John Farragher. “And it’s not just because the Aghamore chairman [the aforementioned Mr Flynn] is my boss!”
We had just dealt with Motion 20 when Mike Connelly delivered the news that most of the delegates had been waiting for. Lunch was ready and would be served as soon as the remaining two motions were done and dusted.
“I’ve been told that the North Mayo lads should be let in first” he smiled, and a ripple of laughter broke out around the room. The end was in sight.
A few minutes later, the chairman brought the curtain down on proceedings, and an orderly queue formed for the Sunday roast.
And the good news? The County Board were paying!